International Career Panelists Bios



Cole Hoover

Director, Global Brigades Institute & Co-Founder of Lumana

Career Expertise: Global Health, Microfinance, Global Development


Cole Hoover is the Director of the Global Brigades Institute, where he currently works to create meaningful opportunities to learn about and engage with relevant issues and opportunities in global development. Cole is also a co-founder and board member of Lumana a microfinance and social investment organization working in rural Africa. Cole is a member of the board of directors for the Young Professionals International Network (a subset of the World Affairs Council) and a World Economic Forum “Global Shaper”. Cole has taught social enterprise courses at the University of Washington and guest lectured around the world on international development. When Cole isn’t traveling to West Africa he lives in Seattle where he works for Global Brigades and enjoys all the awesome beauty the Northwest has to offer.


Matt Warning

Professor of Economics

Career Expertise: Academia, International economics, Fair Trade


Matt Warning teaches economic development, international economics and econometrics. His current research concerns the economics of smallholder coffee production and project impact analysis. He has served as invited "stakeholder" commentator on the Starbucks Corporate Social Responsibility Report, as advisor to the University of Washington Burke Museum's exhibit Coffee: The World in Your Cup, and as consulting producer and content specialist for the PBS documentary Buyer Be Fair: The Promise of Product Certification concerning fair trade coffee and certified wood.


Jennifer Spencer

Instructor, English for Academic Purposes

Career Expertise: TESOL, Teaching English in the U.S. and abroad

Jennifer grew up in a large family in Seattle and spent summers on Vashon Island, which contributed to her adventurous spirit and a need to challenge and learn how to make her dreams come true despite obstacles.  While growing up, she had a lifelong dream of completely absorbing herself in another culture outside of the U.S. where she would learn to speak a foreign language and live very differently than she was accustomed.

Though she had a “dreamer’s” outlook on life, she also had a practical side.  She looked for a way to be able to go anywhere at any time and always be able to have a job; teaching was it.

Jennifer received her Bachelor’s degree in Education from Seattle University and taught elementary school for a very short time before deciding that was not the route to getting overseas.  She then decided to join the Peace Corps and was sent to Morocco where she learned Moroccan Arabic and studied Moroccan culture before moving to her site to become a teacher trainer to preschool teachers.  She focused on creating a school based on Montessori and got support from the children, teachers and community to donate supplies and time to our school.  Unfortunately, the first Gulf War broke out and all volunteers were evacuated back to the United States after only being in the country for 6 months.

Stateside, Peace Corps gave Jennifer the choice to return to Morocco after 6 months at a new site or go to a different country.  She decided that she might as well take advantage of learning another language and living in another country, so she was then sent to Thailand as an EFL teacher in a small village in the south of Thailand where she taught middle school children for two years.  Life was challenging but at the same time fulfilling the dreams she had had since childhood.

After returning to the U.S., Jennifer received her Masters in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from the Monterey Institute of International studies.  From there she taught at Seattle Central Community College in the English Language Institute and then landed a full-time teaching position in the ESL program in International Programs at Bellevue Community College.  She then moved to Tacoma and began teaching immigrants in Transitional Studies at Pierce College and eventually teaching Language Interpreting.  Jennifer currently teaches ESL close to home at Tacoma Community College and loves it!